Former soldier who sparked fury with his Cenotaph XR protest is convicted drug dealer


The former soldier who hijacked the Cenotaph Remembrance Day ceremony is a convicted heroin dealer who was accused of abusing his disabled wife, MailOnline can reveal.

Standing proudly to attention dressed in his military fatigues, Donald Bell’s Armistice Day actions on behalf of Extinction Rebellion (XR) caused fury from veterans after he walked over other official wreaths to plant one on behalf of the climate change extremists.

Yesterday he even dismissed the official Remembrance ceremonies as ‘a little ritual’.

MailOnline can reveal he was jailed for four years in 2007 after being caught pushing his wheelchair-bound wife around the streets of Cambridge – while peddling heroin at the same time. 

Former soldier Donald Bell (above) who hijacked the Cenotaph Remembrance Day ceremony is a convicted heroin dealer who was accused of abusing his disabled wife, MailOnline has learned

Standing proudly to attention dressed in his military fatigues, Donald Bell’s Armistice Day actions on behalf of Extinction Rebellion (XR) caused fury from veterans after he walked over other official wreaths to plant one on behalf of the climate change extremists

Standing proudly to attention dressed in his military fatigues, Donald Bell’s Armistice Day actions on behalf of Extinction Rebellion (XR) caused fury from veterans after he walked over other official wreaths to plant one on behalf of the climate change extremists

But the revelation that he was jailed for four years after being caught pushing his wheelchair-bound wife around the streets of Cambridge – while pushing heroin at the same time will spark outrage

 But the revelation that he was jailed for four years after being caught pushing his wheelchair-bound wife around the streets of Cambridge – while pushing heroin at the same time will spark outrage

The widowed former infantry private was a long-term cannabis user, who ‘has brought shame on the family’, according to one relative who spoke to MailOnline said

The widowed former infantry private was a long-term cannabis user, who ‘has brought shame on the family’, according to one relative who spoke to MailOnline said

The widowed former infantry private was a long-term cannabis user, who ‘has brought shame on the family’, according to one relative who spoke to MailOnline said. 

‘He and his wife Heather were always smoking weed, long before she was consigned to a wheelchair with rheumatoid arthritis,’ said the relative, who asked not to be named.

‘Personally, I think the drugs fried his brain. None of the family agrees with his XR antics, but at least these days I think he’s managed to kick the drugs. None of us have much to do with him any more.’

Bell, 64, who survived a car bomb in Northern Ireland in 1974, said after his Whitehall protest on Wednesday that he wanted to highlight how climate change could cause more wars.

‘I took action knowing that I would be criticised. I knew that I would be accused of being disrespectful and hated by many for speaking out in this way.’

When MailOnline approached him yesterday about his drugs past, he simply said: ‘I’ve said what I wanted to say already’ and closed the door of his Cambridge council flat.

He was jailed in 2007 for four years after he and his wife Heather, then 51, tried to sell wraps of heroin to undercover police officers. The drugs were hidden under her blanket, while Donald Bell pushed her. 

Bell, 64, who survived a car bomb in Northern Ireland in 1974, said after his Whitehall protest on Wednesday that he wanted to highlight how climate change could cause more wars

Bell, 64, who survived a car bomb in Northern Ireland in 1974, said after his Whitehall protest on Wednesday that he wanted to highlight how climate change could cause more wars

When MailOnline approached him yesterday about his drugs past, he simply said: ‘I’ve said what I wanted to say already’ and closed the door of his Cambridge council flat. Pictured: Police removing the wreath from the Cenotaph

 When MailOnline approached him yesterday about his drugs past, he simply said: ‘I’ve said what I wanted to say already’ and closed the door of his Cambridge council flat. Pictured: Police removing the wreath from the Cenotaph

Cambridge Crown Court heard in 2008, when Mrs Bell was sentenced, that she was a victim of domestic violence and she claimed she had been sucked into drug-dealing by her ex-husband in return for his care for her. 

Duncan O’Donnell, for the prosecution, told the court: ‘It would appear the modus operandi was that Heather Bell would store the heroin to be supplied underneath her blanket.’

Mrs Bell, who had been living in a hostel, admitted three charges of involvement in the sale of drugs to test purchase officers in the city centre in Summer 2007.

Passing a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, along with probation supervision, Judge Gareth Hawkesworth, told her: ‘If you had been in good health you would have been going to prison for three years.’

She had answered some of the phone calls when the undercover police put in orders for heroin as part of a sting operation and was using the drug herself, the court heard.

Mrs Bell died a few years ago.

Donald Bell’s relative told MailOnline: ‘I don’t think the bit about domestic abuse that was mentioned in court was true – I think that was Heather trying to paint herself as the victim, as they were both heavily into drugs long before she got ill.’

Ben McBean, a double amputee who fought in the Afghanistan war, said he supported the move to a more sustainable future, but had harsh words for the methods deployed by XR at their Cenotaph protest

Ben McBean, a double amputee who fought in the Afghanistan war, said he supported the move to a more sustainable future, but had harsh words for the methods deployed by XR at their Cenotaph protest

Today, Dianne Rose the widow of a British soldier Vernon Rose killed by an IRA bomb has said she would give Bell a 'punch on the nose' for desecrating the Cenotaph

Today, Dianne Rose the widow of a British soldier Vernon Rose killed by an IRA bomb has said she would give Bell a ‘punch on the nose’ for desecrating the Cenotaph

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she said: 'I don't know what gave Bell the right to do what he did. It was totally, totally wrong'

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she said: ‘I don’t know what gave Bell the right to do what he did. It was totally, totally wrong’

Today, the widow of a British soldier killed by an IRA bomb has said she would give Extinction Rebellion protesters a ‘punch on the nose’ for desecrating the Cenotaph.

Dianne Rose, 74, added she would give Bell – who was injured in the blast in Northern Ireland that killed her husband in 1974 – a ‘mouthful of abuse’ if she ever met him.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, she said: ‘I don’t know what gave Bell the right to do what he did. It was totally, totally wrong. 

Earlier, he was also was heavily criticised by a war hero when they both appeared on Good Morning Britain.  

Ben McBean, a double amputee who fought in the Afghanistan war, said he supported the move to a more sustainable future, but had harsh words for the methods deployed by XR at their Cenotaph protest.

He said: ‘Tip-toeing across poppies in your big size 10 feet to put up a wreath to talk about bl***y climate change, and so on and so forth, starting a war, that’s nonsense!

‘These guys who died a hundred years ago fighting, running towards bullets like I did myself with my colleagues, it wasn’t for climate change.

‘It was to save the country, save the world but trust me, it wasn’t for you to do what you did on Remembrance Day.’ 

The protest has drawn criticism from several public figures, and a spokesperson for the Prime Minister said: ‘The Cenotaph is a memorial to those who fought and died to preserve all our freedoms. 

‘On today, of all days, when we join together to pay tribute to our war dead, this action was profoundly disrespectful.’

XR said in a statement: ‘Donald Bell left the army with serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a time when the illness was still not fully recognised.

‘Donald was one of those people who, like so many, made mistakes and then worked hard to turn his life around.

‘Extinction Rebellion stands by him and his right to speak out about the Government’s complicity in knowingly taking us into future wars and a 4 degree world.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk